On Sunday 23rd August 2015, a 12 year old boy tripped and punched a hole in a $1.5 million painting. This is the first time that a piece of art loaned to Taiwan has suffered such damage.
He was recorded on camera, tripping over the rope barrier around the 17th century oil painting “Flowers” at “The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius” exhibition at Huashan 1914 Creative Park. The artwork is 2 metres tall and around 350 years old. The video shows him stumbling towards the painting, extending his arm, trying to catch his balance and put his hand through it.
An 80cm distance was kept between the public and each painting, however, in this case, the gap wasn’t large enough.
There are 55 paintings from prominent artists, painted between the Italian Renaissance period and the 20th century.
The curator of the exhibition, Andrea Rossi was shocked when hearing about the incident, but is discussing having the painting restored by a local Taiwanese restorer before shipping it back to Italy.
Luckily for the boy and his family, they will not be asked to pay for the restoration of the oil painting. He was visiting the exhibition with his mother, so it’s likely he was unaware of what was around him because he was paying attention to the guided tour. Rossi has asked that he is not blamed and that his family aren’t charged.
The organisers plan to ask the insurance company to cover the restoration costs and compensate the painting’s owner.